Rasslin’ Roundtable For NXT Takeover: New Orleans

Tonight is NXT Takeover: New Orleans, here is our full staff preview and predictions!

NXT Championship
Andrade “Cien” Almas (c) (with Zelina Vega) vs. Aleister Black

JZ – Black is rumored for the main roster any day now, so it wouldn’t; make much sense to take the belt of Cien at this point. Should be a killer match.
Winner: Andrade “Cien” Almas

JT: although I was skeptical about Almas potential as NXT champion, he’s done reasonably well in the role, thanks in big part to the presence of Zelina Vega. It seems likely that Vega will have a significant role to play in this match, as I think Black will kick the crap out of Almas but Cien will retain due to interference from Vega.
Winner: Andrade “Cien” Almas

Michael – I like Almas and I thought it was the right move to put the belt on him. But Black is the next breakout star in NXT, so my guess is they move the belt over.
Winner: Aleister Black (new champion)

Harrak – Almas has to be the biggest surprise to come out of NXT since Alexa Bliss. Although he signed with a ton of fanfare, Almas couldn’t find a place in NXT until WWE signed veteran Zelina Vega & paired the two together. Now Almas is poised to be an even bigger star on the main roster and post-WWE WrestleMania is the perfect time to be called up. It’s been awhile since NXT had an extremely over babyface as its champion & Aleister Black is the perfect star to take up that mantel.
Winner: Black

Schuerman – I really think it’s time to pull the trigger on Black, unless of course he’s going to the main. I can see another classic here, as Almas has had some great matches in his run.

NXT Women’s Championship
Ember Moon (c) vs. Shayna Baszler

JZ – It’s time for a heel Champion, and Baszler has been killing it in her character work. Plus a feud with Kairi Sane writes itself.
Winner: Shayna Baszler

JT: Ember Moon has proven to be a decent NXT Women’s champ, but she probably isn’t ready to move up to the main event right now. Similarly, Baszler has been getting better in the ring but probably isn’t ready to carry the belt yet.
Winner: Ember Moon

Michael – I feel like you can cut and paste my comment from above just substituting in the champion and challenger’s names. I do see a little more possibility for Moon to hold the title, but not much.
Winner: Shayne Baszler (new champion)

Harrak – While I like Baszler & think she’s great for the division, Moon is much more marketable and over with the audience. I can’t see her losing the championship this early after winning it when it was such a long chase for her.
Winner: Ember Moon

Schuerman- This is Baszler’s to lose, without a doubt. She has been built up as the quintessential monster, and the Moon experiment really hasn’t gone well.

NXT Tag Team Championship and Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic trophy
The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly) (c) vs. The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) vs. Roderick Strong and Pete Dunne

JZ – This could go a few different ways, but I think Strong and Dunne have some more life in them as a team, and a feud with the Undisputed ERA would be dope.
Winner: Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne

JT: There are three teams in this match, and there’s a good chance that none of them may be in NXT in 6 months. I’m surprised that the Authors of Pain are still hanging around in NXT, as they haven’t done anything new lately and the main event tag team could benefit from their presence. In terms of the Undisputed Era, with Bobby Fish under an injury cloud it will be interesting to see whether they keep Cole and O’Reilly in a team or pull the solo trigger on Cole – he certainly has the potential to be a breakout star. Which leaves Strong and Dunne, a random tag team thrown together with no apparent chance of winning. Meh.
Winners: The Undisputed Era

Michael – I really think it is a shame that Bobby Fish got hurt. I was hoping for reDRagon to have a big moment here on WrestleMania weekend. Future Shock just doesn’t have the same thrill. Unfortunately, I don’t think that NXT knows what to do with AoP, so I will guess AoP will pin Strong or Dunne to win the titles and the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. This will allow the Undisputed Era to come back after them later. In the meantime, let’s say War Machine debuts as well and annihilates AoP to show who are the true badasses in the division.
Winner: The Authors of Pain (new champions)

Harrak – The addition of the tag team titles to the finals of the Dusty Invitational is a nice twist. Honestly the only reason I’m going with the UE here is because I can’t see AoP winning the titles again or Strong & Dunne winning them at all.
Winners: The Undisputed Era

Schuerman – I really can’t see the AOP winning here, as I most certainly expect them on Raw on Monday. reDragon is all kinds of injured, and can’t hold on to the titles here. The only feasible winners are the feel good story of Dunne and Strong. Dunne is most likely the best “wrestler” in the company, and it’s time for Strong to get a big win.

Ladder match for the NXT North American Championship
Adam Cole vs. EC3 vs. Killian Dain vs. Lars Sullivan vs. Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream

JZ – This should rule. I think it comes down to EC3 or Ricochet. Flip a coin.
Winner: EC3

JT: While there is one match that will undoubtedly be better from a technical perspective (see below) this one should be a lot of fun. I’m really excited to finally see Ricochet in NXT, and I think that EC3 has a far better chance of success in his second time around. The big man battle of Sullivan vs Dain promises to be hard hitting, but I think it will ultimately be one of the flippy guys who walks away with the shiny new title belt.
Winner: Ricochet

Michael – This is going to be an insane spot fest. Frankly, the only direction they can go wrong is is they give the belt to EC3. I would like to see Adam Cole take the belt here because I think his character is better with a championship. I can see Ricochet overshadowing everyone here and taking the new title home. But, let’s take a wild guess and say that Velveteen Dream gets some reward for his recent strong showings.
Winner: Velveteen Dream (inaugural champion)

Harrak – MOTN easily & maybe even match of the weekend is the coming out party for EC3 & Ricochet. Cole & Dream are both strong contenders for the first North American Champion but that title just seems made for EC3’s character.
Winner: EC3

Schuerman – This should be a crazy spotfest, and I could see really any of these men taking it. EC3 is the most likely winner, as he has the most credibility, but Ricochet is right behind him on that scale. Plus, this type of match is home built for Ricochet’s high-flying style. The Dream is a distant third on my list, but he has a chance. I’m gonna go off the beaten path and take Ricochet to win the title here.

Unsanctioned match
If Gargano wins, he will be reinstated to NXT. If Ciampa wins, Gargano will be banned from NXT.
Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa

JZ – I think Gargano staying on NXT and being the one to dethrone Cien is the way to go.
Winner: Johnny Gargano

JT: This is a dead lock to be match of the night, if not match of the Wrestlemania weekend. Ciampa returns from injury burning with righteous fury while Johnny Wrestling plays the best friend betrayed, and in the middle we have two of the best technical wrestlers working in WWE today. This could be a good opportunity to elevate Gargano to one of the major shows, but even with HHH in charge his small build seems likely to work against him.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa

Michael – This is the match everyone has been waiting for. Gargano and Ciampa kicked all sorts of ass during the CWC and they liked each other then. Now they have the whole hatred and wanting to cripple each other going on. The only problem is for this to be as effective as possible, it has to be the conclusion of this story as well. Therefore, here is how it should go – Ciampa wins a brutal contest to establish himself as a superstar in NXT while Gargano moves up to the main roster and begins a feud with Dolph Ziggler or someone. But this is still under the auspices of WWE, so…
Winner: Johnny Gargano.

Harrak – God, Johnny Gargano needs a big win but he’s not getting one here. The main roster needs the spark Gargano can supply and I truly hope he’s not wasted among the “big dogs”.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa

Schuerman – Here’s to hoping that Gargano gets reinstated to NXT. I just don’t see a current fit for him anywhere but 205 LIve, and he’ll just die there. I’m going with Gargano to win his reinstatement to continue the feud with Ciampa.

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